Riyadh says most corruption detainees have agreed to settle

Maricruz Casares
Diciembre 7, 2017

The public prosecutor said the anti-corruption committee headed by 32-year-old Prince Mohammed, the king's favoured son also known as MbS, was expected to finish the settlement phase within a few weeks.

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor said on December 5 that the bank accounts of 376 people detained in a sweeping anti-corruption campaign launched last month and others related remain frozen, down from over 2,000 a few weeks ago, while most of the detainees have agreed to settlements to avoid prosecution.

Prominent figures, including princes, ministers and businessmen, were taken into custody last month.

He said that "a number of individuals" had been referred to the Public Prosecutor's Office and that 159 people now remain in detention.

The committee was established by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under Royal Order Number A/38 on November 4, and immediately announced a swathe of arrests in a sweeping crackdown on corruption in the Kingdom.

"Based on evidence", the statement read, "the Public Prosecutor's Office chose to continue detaining a limited number of individuals and release the remaining individuals".

This stage is based on a system according to which the Royal Order, referred to above, states that the committee "decides what it deems beneficial in the public interest, especially with those who have responded positively to them".

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The attorney general has previously said he estimates at least $100 billion has been lost in embezzlement or corruption over several decades.

Detainees are free to contact whomever they like and to reject any settlement offers, the statement said.

The nature of the charges also remains unclear but the attorney general's statement said "internationally applied procedures" had been followed. Those who sign deals are recommended for pardon and an end to criminal litigation.

The anti-corruption commission referred a number of the arrested to the kingdom's public prosecutor's office. If the evidence against him is strong, he shall be suspended in accordance with the prescribed periods which can reach six months in accordance with the powers of the Attorney-General, or, in exceptional cases, by a decision of the competent court. If there is not, the individual is released.

The statement said that although the bank accounts of 376 individuals have been frozen, all assets or corporate entities of those detained, and the rights of any other parties related to such assets or corporate entities, shall not be affected or disrupted.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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